Evaluating the Efficacy of Oral vs. Intramuscular Administration of Distemper Vaccine and Intramuscular Rabies Vaccine in Captive African Wild Dogs (Lycaon pictus)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2009

Maren Connolly1, DVM; Patrick Thomas2, PhD; Rosie Woodroffe3, PhD; Bonnie L Raphael1, DVM, DACZM

1Global Health Program, Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, NY, USA; 2Living Institutions, Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, NY, USA; 3Institute of Zoology, Regent’s Park, London, UK


A series of three vaccinations (Purevax Ferret TM, Merial Limited, Athens, GA) was administered at one-month intervals, orally (n=8) or intramuscularly (n=7), to 15 previously unvaccinated juvenile African wild dogs (AWD) at the Bronx Zoo. Titers were measured by serum neutralization at each vaccination and three months post third vaccination. All titers were negative for orally vaccinated animals; 5/7 animals of the injection group were positive at three months post third vaccination.

One dose of rabies vaccine, (Imrab3™, Merial Limited, Iselin, NJ), was administered IM to 29 Bronx Zoo AWD. Titers measured by Rapid Fluorescent Focus Inhibition Testing (Kansas State University) at the time of vaccination were negative (<1:5) and were measured up to 43 months post vaccination. All animals (sampled from 3–43 months post vaccination) had positive titers and no vaccinated animal seroconverted to negative.

Oral vaccination with Purevax Ferret™ cannot be recommended for use in AWD. Additionally, 29% did not have protective titers three months following IM vaccination series. No recommendation can be made regarding frequency of subsequent vaccinations based on these data. A single rabies vaccination resulted in titers in all vaccinated AWDs up to 43 months post injection, supporting the use of a single IM vaccination to provide long-term protection for free-ranging AWD populations.


Speaker Information
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Maren Connolly, DVM
Global Health Program
Wildlife Conservation Society
Bronx, NY, USA

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